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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  May 31, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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we're in trouble. >> thank you for the time tonight. i agree with you 100%. thank you. that's "the ed show." >> good evening, ed. thanks for staying us with for the next hour. today was a weird day in politics. in part because of some unexpected and some still unexplained news from the ghosts of vice presidents and would-be vice president's pasts. we're talking about this later on in the show. in the middle of the afternoon today, we got this news that there was going to be a verdict in the john edwards sex scandal/campaign finance scandal. that verdict ended up being a delayed verdict and then a partial verdict and then a deliberate verdict but the long afternoon of uncertainty about that sort of brought the news world to a halt today. while everybody was trying to figure out what was happening in that sorted case when it was going to happen and then ultimately once it did happen, what it meant. meanwhile, though, as that saga
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was playing out and every newsroom in the country was riveted to that in confusion, while that was happening, today at the white house former republican president george w. bush and his wife laura were at the white house being hosted by president obama and mrs. obama. they were there for the unveiling of the bush's official white house portraits. there was one strange thing about this ceremony and this event. did you actually see any of this as it happened? the "newsday" was so unexpected in following all the contours that nobody knew it was going to follow that, event ended up being a comedy show. i said there was a strange thngk about it. did you see any of the footage of this today? it ended up being very funny. >> mr. president, thank you for your warm hospitality. madam, first lady, thank you so much for inviting our rowdy friends to my hanging.
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i am pleased that my portrait brings an interesting symmetry to the white house collection. it now starts and ends with a george w. when the british burn the white house as fred mentioned in 1814, dolly madison famously saved this portrait of the first george w. now michelle, if anything happens, there's your man. yeah. i'm also pleased, mr. president, that when you are wandering the halls as you wrestle with tough decisions you will now be able to gaze at this portrait and ask what would george do?
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>> even his wife throws back her head and laughed at that one. whatever former president george w. bush and current president obama think about each other as politicians, everybody including the president and the first lady and the former president and the former first lady all seemed to have a really good time at the white house today for the unveiling of these portraits. what would george do? here's the strange thing about that very, very pleasant event today, though. you know when george bush said thanks for letting me bring my rowdy friends. the people who you brought, the people there to witness the portrait unveiling, the people who came with george w. bush to this event today included his wife, obviously, family, karl rove was there, colin powell was there, condoleeza rice, donald rumsfeld. absent without any explanation as to why was his vice president. no dick cheney. and it's not like vice president cheney is in seclusion after his heart transplant.
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this is him post heart transplant. he is giving speeches. he has been doing specifically political speeches. he's been making public appearances and public comments. he is preparing to host a fund-raiser for mitt romney this summer. but as every other boldface name from the george w. bush administration showed up for the comedic stylings of gw 43, there was no vice president cheney. mr. cheney, if you'd like to talk about it any time. i'm happy to have you here. please call me. >> this is very interesting pal an intrigue about who turned ut and who didn't turn up today. you be respectful to each other, appreciative of each other and find something nice to say about each other. it is particularly nice to see that when something add fraught as a new presidential campaign is underway. especially this particular
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presidential campaign which not only seems line it's going to be a very hard fought one. but started off in the very, very beginning in a very nasty and very inus asuspicious way. do you remember the very first campaign ad of the general election this year? mitt romney technically clinched enough delegates for the nomination this week. but the first ad he ran that wasn't against one of his republican opponents but was against president obama, do you remember that first ad? and what the big scandal was about it? it was this ad. way back in november. mr. romney still a month and a half away from the iowa caucuses but he was already going after president obama in november 2011 ad. in this first anti-obama ad, he went after president obama in a way that was really blatantly flagrantly untrue. it want just some politics lie. it wasn't like a var yent interpretation of some contested event or nuance about something which liberals and conservatives disagree. it was a flat out, run of the mill, unambiguous lie. here's the romney ad.
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>> you need to provide relief for homeowners. it's going to take a new direction. if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose. >> that's what the first anti-obama mitt romney ad of the general election campaign quoted the president as saying. if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose. here's what president obama actually said. >> senator mccain's campaign actually said, and i quote, if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose. >> that's not politics. that -- that's a lie. he was quoting somebody else. he was reading somebody else's words in order to criticize them and mitt romney in his camp edited the sound to make it seem like it was something that president obama said for himself. that is not just standard political slime. that is an outright schoolyard lie. and it's kind of crazy to think that you would get away with that, right? when the ad first came out in
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november, the initial response, even in the beltway is this must be a mistake. they have to correct it, right? but, no. mitt romney meant it. the ad is still up, still running at his youtube page. they never corrected it even after they got caught. and when mr. romney was asked about why his first ad was blatantly lying like this, he was not embarrassed about it. he insisted that his campaign meant to edit the ad like that. it was on purpose. >> there was no hidden effort on the part of our campaign. it was instead to point out what is good for the goose is now sauce for the gander. >> online idiom dictionaries say that the sauce for the goose thing is the old fashioned version of the saying what's good for the goose is good for the gander. which you might have heard in normal life. he says the old school way about the goose having a sauce. in any case, that's how he responded when he got called out on the very first anti-obama ad when this huge lie and he never
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apologized. he never corrected it. he is still running it and he said that weird thing about the goose and a sauce. that was his first anti-obama attack in november. but to day mr. romney went back to the goose and the sauce thing again. this is david 5:00 wiaxelrod. he is trying to give a press conference about the obama campaign's new focus on mitt romney's tenure as governor of massachusetts in the early 2000 seats. he criticized the obama campaign for focusing on his time at bane capital. and so the aobama campaign is saying, fine. we wasnon't talk about bane capital. let's talk about what you were like as a governor? i know that's what the obama campaign is trying to do now. i saw the ad that the obama folks put out today. i saw the written press materials saying this was their obama campaign message today. but anybody who just went to hear david axelrod talk about it
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in boston today instead did not hear any of that. instead, what they heard was this. >> where are the jobs? where are the jobs? where are the jobs? >> you can't handle the truth, my friends. that's the problem. you can handle the truth, then quiet down. >> that was not an organic grassroots spontaneous pro romney crowd there yelling at david axelrod. they were blowing bubbles. they were just doing the chanting together and the screaming. it wasn't an organic thing that happened. it wouldn't in boston. the romney campaign actually admits that it sent those people down there from the campaign to drown out david axelrod at the press conference. mr. romney personally admitted to that today. and that's when he went back to the goose and sauce thing. >> at some point you say, you know, what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. if they're going to heckle us,
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we're not going to sit back and play by different rules f the president has his people come into my rallies and heckling, then we'll show them that, you know, we conservatives have the same capacity he does. >> again with the sauce. the idea of the sauce that tastes good on all of the geese. it is delicious goose sauce for many geese. i love it. the obama campaign, let everybody know in advance that they were going to be pivoting broadly to this issue of mr. romney's tenure as massachusetts governor, but they let people know in advance that david axelrod was going to be at the specific press conference today. and the romney campaign -- they knew this was coming. they knew this was going to happen. the romney campaign cooked up two strategies for trying to distract what the obama folks were doing today. the first strategy was literally just to drown out david axelrod so people could not hear him speak. it's a mini brooks brothers riot
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on the steps of the massachusetts state capitol. the romney campaign had a second strategy, distract from what the obama campaign is doing today, to not really respond but to change the narrative. their other strategy today besides trying to drown out david axelrod is they sent their own candidate to do a simultaneous stunt on west coast. so while the george w. bush portrait veiling thing was going on and while the nation's news rooms were riveted to the prospect of this john edwards verdict that nobody understood, and what the david axelrod thing was being drowned out by romney campaign aides and staffers, i guess, who were sent there, while all that was going on, what the romney campaign was trying to get people to pay attention to was their big campaign stunt of the day. the romney campaign told reporters that they needed to get on a bus because they were going to be going somewhere with mitt romney. but the campaign would not say where they were going. when the bus finally arrived at
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its destination, it turns out they were at solyndra, the solar energy firmed that received a loan from the george w. bush era. the company went bust. republicans tried for more than a year to make the solyndra story into a scandal for president obama. but it didn't really work. even their top attack dog in the house on this subject from california, he eventually concluded that there seems to have been no real criminal or political wrongdoing in this case and congressional republicans have sort of dropped it. they tried to make this a big deal. they tried really hard for a long time. they had a lot of help on the subject from fox news. but they really never got anywhere with it. now mitt romney is trying again. he tried it again today. he's been -- had this is the message of the week. they tried it in a big way with the stunt, with the reporters in tow. they did kind of blow it.
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they blew it in two ways. first, they did this on the day that obama campaign is spending all of its resources to highlight mitt romney's time as governor. and the big substantive problem with mitt romney trying to push the solyndra story is that mitt romney himself did the exact same thing in massachusetts while he was the goner of that state. his solyndra, his company is that got taxpayer money to try to build them up and create jobs and invest in important new technologies but then they went bust, his companies like that in massachusetts, his solyndras were called acusphere. it was also one called ever green solar. these companies got millions of taxpayer dollars from mitt romney as governor of massachusetts and then they went bust. and, yes, some of the companies were run by big mitt romney campaign donors. you probably have not heard a lot about this part of mitt romney's time as governor because everybody was wondering whether he was really going to
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try to push the solyndra thing all that hard. now that republicans have given up on it and we know he has such a bad hypocrisy problem on the issue. he is running it with. you're going to hear about all the companies in massachusetts that he shoveled taxpayer money into and they went bust. you're going to hear all about how mitt romney did what president obama did and by the way, here's a nice reminder implicitly that he was not a particularly successful governor of massachusetts and not just a rich business guy. so it's kind of a mess for him to be pushing this at all. that's problem one. here's the bigger problem though. it is the problem of the lying. at that solyndra stunty photo op thing today, mitt romney told a bald faced lie right off the bat. it was blunt. >> two years ago president obama was here to tout this building and this business as a symbol of the success of his stimulus.
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well, you can see that it's a symbol of something very different today. it's a symbol not of success but of failure. it's also a symbol of a serious conflict of interest, an independent inspector general looked at this investment and concluded that the administration had steered money to friends and family to campaign contributors. >> that is not true. and inspector general did not look into the investment in solyndra and conclude that administration had steered money to friends and family. that did not happen. that is a lie. michael greenwald is writing a book about the stimulus. he wrote about this turn in the mitt romney campaign today. but it hasn't really been picked up anywhere else. i'm surprised this is not a bigger story. no real reporter who's ever followed this solyndra story as republicans have tried to make it a big deal would have missed that damning detail.
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had there been an i.d. investigation that concluded there was corruption here, that would be a big deal. but that didn't happen. when the romney campaign started claiming this in an ad this week, their ad this week said the inspector general concluded that there had been this steering of money to friends an he said, i asked the romney campaign for documentation, and it produced a "newsweek" article asserting that energy department gregory friedman testified that contracts have been steered to friends and family. except that "newsweek" article was an excerpt from the book "throw them all out." he served as an adviser to sarah palin's pack. he edited a website and written a slew of books portraying liberals as pond scum. i actually checked what he said about the pond scum thing. he is sort of right.
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one of this guy's books is how conservative works harder and hug their children more than liberals do. not kidding. not making that up. this guy wrote a whole book on profiles in liberal hypocrisy. he also wrote "the bushes." but here's the important thing. it's not just that this guy is kind of sketch as the source for this empirical claim by a presidential campaign. remember, what mitt romney says, what mr. romy himself says is that the inspector general looked into solyndra and concluded that the obama administration steered taxpayer money to its friends and family. they cite this guy as the source of that claim. but it is a chuckleable claim. it turns out that inspector general never testified that stimulus contracts were steered to friends and family. he said his office was investigating whether stimulus contracts were steered to friends and family. so far, it has not confirmed that anywhere.
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so just like mitt romney lied in his very first ad, in a really blunt, schoolyard kind of way. they're now lying in the new ad that is about solyndra and mitt romney is lying about it personally out of his face at his big campaign stunt today. if you don't care that he had his own solyndra, what he is saying about this scandal that he is hypocritically trying to lay on the obama administration is just blantantly not true. it is a lie. it is a checkable thing. he says something was concluded by a inspector general that was never concluded by a inspector general. it is not true. that seems important given that he's running for president. even on a busy "newsday." even after you've been driven to the president's photo op with a blindfold on, even on a crazy day in american politics like today with the return of george bush and the nonreturn of dick cheney and even like the john edwards verdict in the middle of it, even in this nuts day in american politics, don't you
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think that candidate telling a big, blatant lie in the middle of the news cycle deserves a little follow up? "washington post" e.j. deyam joins us next. well, shoot, that's like checking on your burgers after they're burnt! [ male announcer ] treat your frequent heartburn by blocking the acid with prilosec otc. and don't get heartburn in the first place! [ male announcer ] one pill a day. 24 hours. zero heartburn. in here, great food demands a great presentation. so at&t showed corporate caterers how to better collaborate by using a mobile solution, in a whole new way. using real-time photo sharing abilities, they can create and maintain high standards, from kitchen to table. this technology allows us to collaborate with our drivers to make a better experience for our customers. [ male announcer ] it's a network of possibilities -- helping you do what you do... even better. ♪
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that's good morning, veggie style. hmmm. for half the calories plus veggie nutrition. could've had a v8. your doctor will say get smart about your weight. that's why there's glucerna hunger smart shakes. they have carb steady, with carbs that digest slowly to help minimize blood sugar spikes. [ male announcer ] glucerna hunger smart. a smart way to help manage hunger and diabetes. an independent inspector general concluded that the obama administration steered money to friends and families to campaign contributors. >> not true. checkable, easily checkable. not true.
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actually, a lie. but mr. romney keeps repeating it nonetheless. he did so personally today on the campaign trail in california. he has also done so this week in an ad. it's not true. joining us now is e.j. dionne. he is a brookings institution senior fellow and author of the blockbuster new book, our divided political heart, the battle for the american idea in an age of discontent. e.j., thank you for being here. >> so good to be with you. and playing my usual role as pond scum. >> who does not hug children adequately nor do you work hard because you're a liberal. >> i actually like to hug my kids. >> sshhh. you're ruining the stereotype. so what happened today is we have a presidential candidate telling an easily checkable, very obvious, very overt cut and dry lie. he's put it in an ad and he said it himself to assembled
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reporters today. when that happens if a general election campaign for president, what's supposed to happen next? >> you're supposed to turn on rachel maddow and watch her call out the lie. i think actually i say that. i think that is exactly what media are supposed to do. i think we may be in this disturbing time of double or triple realities where somebody's lie is taken to be as good as somebody's truth because it was in a book somewhere, or it was on fox or it was on some website. and that becomes sufficient to back up something that if you check just a little further is blatantly untrue. i think it's going to be a real challenge to all media but particularly the mainstream media. i've been in the old media all my life. i think that our function has to be to try to create a level playing field where the conversation is based on fact. people can have all kinds of opinions. but candidates aren't supposed
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to lie. romney is in dangerous territory. we heard the word lie used about him more than i heard used about a candidate in a very long time. there were the two you called out in your piece. there is the famous obama apologizes for america. he repeated that over and over when it wasn't true. i think this is going to be a real challenge for all of us this kind of campaign. >> substantively the obama campaign is pivoting right now to mr. romney's time as governor of massachusetts. they previously were focusing on his time in the private sector which is what mr. romney says he would like you to focus on. but if you were him, you would rather be former one term governor of massachusetts running for president or would you rather be zillion air former private equity executive running for president if he gets a choice in the matter, which does he pick? >> i find it hard to put myself in mitt romney's shoes, i have to say. but personally, i'd rather run as former governor of massachusetts in a general
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election than as business guy in the republican primary. but then i would run defending the health care plan that he signed in massachusetts which he is clearly not ready to do. if he did run on his record as governor, he'd have an easier time pivoting to appeal to moderate voters. but we have gone through this story before. there was another governor of massachusetts who had actually a rather good record as governor who ran for president in 1988. and after all of the attacks on that record, dent fair too well. the 1988 campaign is going to soothe the sue the 2012 campaigr plagiarism. >> on another subject that you wrote about in the "washington post" today, the wisconsin recall election for the governor there is tuesday. we learn today that former president bill clinton is going to wisconsin to campaign for tom barrett again scott walk tler now. do you think that democrats have done enough nationally to try to
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defeat scott walker in wisconsin? >> i think probably not. because i do think this is a very important race. i'm not big on recalls or impeachments. but i think what you're looking at in wisconsin is a party and a governor who were really trying to tilt the system. you take office and then change the rules so it's harder to throw you out of office. you do all that voter suppression stuff that you've been talking about and then you try to weaken the political organizations that are at the heart of your opponent's political operations, the trade unions. so i think it's a big deal. but i don't know if it does this much good to talk about did the democrats do enough. a lot of depend on energy on the ground. and i think bill clinton being there, he is very good at provoking energy on the ground. i think it's a powerful symbol the democrats that are on the fence. it looks like from the polls that president obama is running ahead of tom barrett in that state. and so bill clinton will be a
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good guy to convert on the fence democrats. >> e.j. dionne, author of the new book "our divided political heart." e.j., congratulations on this successful launch of the book. >> thank you so much. >> thank you for being here. appreciate it. >> good to be with you. >> we have big developments to night in the state of florida's attempt to make it harder to vote. this is something we have been talking about on the show for the last few nights. my colleague ed shultz is covering this in even more depth for longer. but we have brand new developments to night that i do not think you heard anywhere else. big news on that coming up next. [ male announcer ] that. right there -- reminds you why you fell in love with her in the first place. and why you still feel the same. but your erectile dysfunction -- that could be a question of blood flow. cialis for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right. you can be more confident in your ability to be ready. and the same cialis is the only daily ed tablet approved to treat ed and symptoms of bph, like needing to go frequently or urgently.
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okay, florida. high school. new smyrna beach. civics class. the teacher in the civics class as part of teaching civics, her jam is jill and this is high school and she's a teacher. she distributed voter registration forms to her seniors who would be old enough to vote in the next election. the seniors who wanted to vote learned how to do so, how to fill out the form and then she took the completed forms to the local elections office and thereby registered her students to vote. she's a civics teacher. she does this every year. she's been doing this for years. but this school year the state of florida did something different after she handed in
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the student's forms. the state threatened to charge her as a criminal for turning in voter registration forms just like she did every year. now the state of florida says the teacher has violated the state's district new voting law signed by the new republican governor of florida scott and facing thousands of dollars in fines trying to register her students to vote. the state also threatened to prosecute her on a felony count because she was a teacher carrying out the reagan you'll part of her lesson plan in this is how voting works. now it's a whole different lesson in this is how voting used to work but not anymore. last spring governor rick scott of florida changed his state's laws to roll back early voting in the state. also to make it harder to register. the new law requires among other things that anyone who registers voters in the state has to hand in all completed forms no later than 48 hours to the minute after the applicants have originally filled them out. if you fail to do that, hand in
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your voter registration forms more than 48 hours later, like teacher jill cicciarelli did and you're a potential felon. if that sounds unreasonable to you, if that sounds hash much and impractical and serves little if no purpose, there is a federal judge in the northern district of florida who agrees with you. congratulations. this afternoon judge robert hinkel issued an injunction barring the state of florida from endivorcing the new rick scott 48 hour deadline part of its election law. he called the arbitrary two-day deadline harsh and impractical writing in his 27-page ruling the state has little if any legitimate interest in setting the deadline at 48 hours. the short deadline coupled with substantial penalties for noncompliance make voter registration drives a ris yik business. if the goal is to discourage voter registration drives and that's also to make it harder for new voters to register, the 48-hour deadline may succeed. but if the goal is to further
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the state's legitimate interests without unduly burdening the rights of voters and voter registration organizations, then 48 hours is a bad choice. >> despite the leap off the top rope body slam language of that ruling, despite striking down the part of republican governor rick scott's law that made her a potential felon and shut down the age-old good government nonpartisan little old lady voter registration drives, despite all that, the judge did today levin tact the other part of rick scott's voter suppression law. early voting is still slashed in half from 15 days in florida down to only eight days. even though you won't have to avoid -- abide by the random 48-hour time frame on turning in voter registration forms, if you do want to do a voter registration drive in florida, you want to help somebody else register to vote, rick scott's law will still force you to
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register yourself with the state as if you're a sex offender or something. and as we have been reporting, governor rick scott is trying to purge thousands of eligible florida voters off the states' voter rolls. it is being resisted by county florida elections officials around the state. first the state sent over 2,000 names to the counties to be purged alleging that voters were noncitizens even though that doesn't seem to be the case in a lot of cases. the state has also upped the purge with a follow up list not 26,000 names but of 53,000 name. the state wants the counties to purge off the voter rolls. civil rights groups are asking the justice department to intervene in florida again to stop what the republicans and the state government are doing there in advance of the election. here is brand new news on the subject. the justice department tonight sent the state of florida a letter asking that it stop purging its voter rolls. in the letter which we have obtained tonight at msnbc, the
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justice department says that florida has not asked for federal clearance under the voting rights act and that the state may be violating the national voter registration act. again this letter going from the justice department to florida as to have night. we are reporting it exclusively here. take this in some, this ruling by the judge in tallahassee, take the resistance by county election officials to what their state is telling them to do and now this new intervention from the justice department. all this means that this thing in florida is heating up really fast. everybody thinks this is a slow news time right now. it is not. watch florida. four walls and a roof is a structure.
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i've been fortunate to win on golf's biggest stages. but when joint pain and stiffness from psoriatic arthritis hit, even the smallest things became difficult. i finally understood what serious joint pain is like. i talked to my rheumatologist and he prescribed enbrel. enbrel can help relieve pain, stiffness, and stop joint damage. because enbrel, etanercept, suppresses your immune system, it may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal events including infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma, other cancers, and nervous system and blood disorders have occurred. before starting enbrel,
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your doctor should test you for tuberculosis and discuss whether you've been to a region where certain fungal infections are common. don't start enbrel if you have an infection like the flu. tell your doctor if you're prone to infections, have cuts or sores, have had hepatitis b, have been treated for heart failure, or if, while on enbrel, you experience persistent fever, bruising, bleeding, or paleness. [ phil ] get back to the things that matter most. ask your rheumatologist if enbrel is right for you. [ doctor ] enbrel, the number one biolog medicine prescribed by rheumatologists. whatever you might think of john edwards' personal conduct. there is one thing that he is not guilty of and it is count called number three. count number three was accepted and received illegal campaign donations from rachael bunny melon. today the jury in john edwards campaign finance fraud case returned a not guilty verdict on that one charge. the jury was split on five other counts and so the judge declared
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a mistrial on them. prosecutors can't retry the case if they like but most legal experts say that is unlikely. so today is wayne fa win for jon edwards. john edwards' legal trouble stem not from his 2004 campaign when he was the vice-presidential nominee as amazing as that now seems. no, the donation that's we're talking about here, the ones that prosecutors amounted to fraud, they were made during john edwards' very serious bid for the presidential nomination 2008 when he finished third behind obama and hillary clinton. it was mr. edwards' personal flaws that were his own undoing. unbeknownst to everyone at the time, john edwards with this story book marriage was secretly carrying on a salacious affair during the campaign. while he was still running for president, some of i had wealthy donors stepped in with cash to
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keep mr. edwards' mistress out of the public eye. they paid to fly her all over the country and put her up in hotels. they paid for her medical care which became important when it emerged she was pregnant with mr. edwards' child. in total, they shelled out $900,000 for the purpose of hiding john edwards' mistress during and eventually after the campaign. according to federal prosecutors, this $900,000 amounted to an illegal campaign contribution because it was meant to preserve his image as a family man and thus preserve his candidacy. he was charged with six counts of campaign finance fraud. john edwards denied that these were campaign contributions. his lawyer said that the money was used to protect not his presidential hopes, not his political reputation, but rather his wife, elizabeth. in fact, one of the checks in question was not cashed until after john edwards had already dropped out of the race. that payment was at the heart of count number three for which john edwards was found not
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guilty. if he got the money after he wasn't running for president, then it couldn't have been money to help him run for president, right? not guilty on that count. but all rest were a mistrial. in a brief statement today, john edwards thanked the jury for hard work. he thanked his family and then he stated the obvious. that he was the only person responsible for this whole mess. >> i want to make sure that everyone hears from me and from my voice that while i do not believe i did anything illegal or ever thought i was doing anything illegal, i did an awful, awful lot that was wrong. and there is no one else responsible for my sins, none of the people who came to court and testified are responsible, nobody working for the government is responsible. i am responsible. and if i want to find the person who should be held accountable for my sins, honestly, i don't
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have to go any further than a mirror. it's me. it is me and me alone. >> john edwards standing there with his daughter and with his parents. there's no shortage of uncomfortable facts in this case. even disgusting facts in this case. but from a policy standpoint, one unsettling thing here is when you realize the john edwards trial was about a period of time before citizens united. back when $900,000 might be a lot of money in a campaign. now, now you have a billionaire whose family spent just on newt gingrich's campaign 16 times as much money as is at issue in this case. 16 times legally. the legal part of that is the crazy part of that. the man who ran for the republican nomination for president this year who focused his whole effort on screaming about money and politics and trying to fix it has dropped out of the race as of today. he joins us next for the interview. stay with us.
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while i do not believe i did anything illegal, i did an awful, awful lot that was wrong. and there is no one else responsible for my sins. none of the people who came to court and testified are
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responsible. nobody working for the government is responsible. i am responsible. >> joining us tonight for the interview is as to have day former republican presidential candidate buddy romer for whom campaign finance reform was the centerpiece of his campaign. governor, it is great to see you again. >> good to see you. >> i'm not going to ask you why you dropped out of the race because i think i know. but i want to know if running for president -- this experience gave you new insight into how to fix the problem that you ran to address, this problem of money and politics? >> yes. i realize we now live in the worst of both worlds. the old debate between the liberals or progressives and conservatives. we're between full disclosure and limits. conservatives want disclosure. we have neither now. neither. it's wide open. i mean today's case with john edwards was about personal integrity and corruption.
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we're talking systematic corruption now, where policy, whether it is military, trade policy, budget policy withearmae you cannot read, rachel, these issues, these policy issues are moved by catch and big checks. they're not moved by debate anymore. in fact, when one side is speaking on the floor of the house, the other side is not even there. we've quit talking to and with each other. we're just talking at each other now. and i think the driving force, rachel, is the power of money. it's gone berserk. in reading the book about lyndon johnson and his beginnings he talked about the turn of the 20th century when roosevelt and others were trying to bust the trust, the big corporations were running american politics, and running the country in the
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ground and the populist stood up and there was a movement in this country. i think the same thing is going to happen here. i'm not talking personal corruption now. the john edwards story is a different story. i'm talking systematic corruption where a president will spend more time on fund-raising in the it 1st century than any president in the history of the country and i'm not blaming him. he thinks he has to do it to get re-elected because we have a system where there are no limits broad or narrow and there's not full disclosure. >> the reason i think the john edwards benchmark is so interesting in such an unexpected way because it makes 12 2008 seem quaint. there's always been money in politics. the john edwards money is disgusting for its own reasons. what we were worried about was how less than a million dollars might have been a corrupting or fraudulent influence in that race. we're talking about i mean two
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brothers from an oil and chemical conglomerate that they inherited from their dad say they are together as two people will spend $400 million in this election this year. >> i just read a book about outsourcing in the military. good book. at one point the author writes that in iraq in 2011 this were 45,000 soldiers and 65,000 private contractors. we've made war painless. we're doing that to politics now. john edwards outsourced this diversion of money and we're beginning to see it in so many ways now where politicians hide the source of their money and yet it influences how they vote. i've been on your show before and talked about banking. it's too big to fail still the law? yes, it is. how many millions of dollars did that take from the banks to buy off the congress?
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>> in terms of how bad it is now and how quickly it has gotten this bad one thing you said in your statement about leaving the campaign today was 98% of people in america do not give a penny when it comes to making political donations. i don't want to inspire everybody to give donations but doesn't that mean people are so demoralized mr. their ability to have any influence amid this sea of corporate and massive megadonor money it's real hard to imagine fixing it. >> here's what i bet the jury said, one reason they found not guilty on diplomat number three, everybody does it. you can hear them talking like that and that's what america feels now. i've been across america for 17 months, and i've learned so much. you ask a good first question, what have you learned, buddy? what do we need to do? we need to tell the stories of corruption and how it affects us and the power of money in this. right now the average american doesn't give a penny, is a
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spectator on the couch, watches a few debates then makes a decision. i tried to run an approach of $100 limit and i needed 3 million people. if i could get 3 million people at $100, that's 300 million and, rachel, i'll be president of the united states. it can be done. and i think it's possible. what i thought, though, was the issue of credibility. buddy, you're not credible. if you don't take the big checks, buddy, you're not credible if you're not on the debate. well, they decided not to put me on any of the 23 debates. what i'm going to do now going forward is work on the issue of reform, not as a candidate, but as a citizen and i'm going to try to pull the forces together, left and right, larry less ig, mark mckennen, all the people i work with, we're going to try to make this issue on the floor of congress and in the corridors of the white house and the issue is
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this, is this a republic where the representatives represent people or is this an oligarchy where representatives represent big checks? that's the issue. you pointed out in your book in the military, i pointed out in my life on the political trail. somewhere, somehow, we've got to get this together, rachel, and i failed, but you know two weeks ago in a national poll, i had 7%, and only 15% of the people knew who i were and the 15 that knew, half of them were going to vote for me for president. this issue is alive, and the two parties are joined at the billfold. i was 20 years a democrat, 20 years a republican. i know their strengths and they have strengths, but i know their weakness, it's the big check. that's going to be the issue. i make a prediction. in elections forward in the 21st century, there will be multiple
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parties, not two. there will be multiple issues, not just one and we will handle money and politics like it's never been handled before. by the way, you know what the law is now, you know what the law is when john edwards ran, $2500 was the limit on individual giving. is that a joke? >> buddy roemer, you did not go far as a presidential potential nominee in the republican party but you are capable as a republican of talking to people on the left and right about this issue so as you continue to -- as you continue to stick with this issue, i hope you'll keep the dialogue open with me and with our friends on the right together. >> yes, madam vice president. >> now, that's a sure losing bet. >> all right. we would have been powerful. >> we will be right back. mine was earned off vietnam in 1968.
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